Trust is one of life’s greatest commodities. My friend’s 10 week old baby girl already knows to trust the sound of her mother’s voice and the safety of her daddy’s arms.
Earning trust and extending trust become a natural part of our life rhythm.
The same is true in our leadership. Trust is foundational to our leadership relationships.
While there is much that can be said about earning the trust of those you lead, I want to focus for a minute on earning the trust of those that lead you. Oftentimes I believe we overlook the importance of earning the trust of the person who is empowering your leadership.
To earn leadership trust, I believe you need to display these three things well:
Leadership is a big responsibility and contrary to what many new leaders assume, it doesn’t come with autonomy. In fact, I believe leadership requires greater accountability. As a leader you have to determine who you are accountable to and then find out what accountability means to them. For some that may mean checking in daily, for others it may mean weekly. Know their expectation and then live up to it.
Learn what your leader values and then make sure he/she knows about it. I suggest you over-communicate first and then get feedback from them on what they really want to know. The more you are looping them in, the more confident they’ll feel about your leadership and the more quickly you’ll earn their trust. I’ll add one caution though: communication doesn’t mean popping into their office repeatedly throughout the day. Respect their time and their schedule and work within that. The most important thing you can do each week is come prepared with a thorough update for your weekly meeting time (assuming you have one). Never come unprepared to a meeting with your boss – NEVER! Unpreparedness erodes trust.
Be consistent. Consistently do what you say you’ll do. Consistently deliver on what is asked of you… and in the time frame it was requested. Unpredictability erodes trust. If you can’t be counted on, you can’t be trusted.
Having the complete trust of your leader is an amazing gift, but don’t expect it. Earn it!
Do you agree? What would you add to the list?